Friday, April 06, 2007

The origins of the national song of Australia

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1895 AB Banjo Paterson's song 'Waltzing Matilda' (with traditional tune first notated by Christina Macpherson) was first sung in public, at a Winton, Queensland, hotel. It is considered Australia’s unofficial national anthem and is certainly its favourite song.

It relates the story of a swagman who steals a sheep and drowns himself when law enforcement arrives. The swaggie was a radical union organizer named Samuel 'Frenchy' Hoffmeister who had burned down a shearing shed (that's not Frenchy pictured, but he is a fair dinkum swaggie). There had been other arson attacks around this time, including the bombing of the Aramac by anarchist Larry Petrie (1893), the burning of the steamship Paddle Steamer Rodney and the shooting of Billy McLean, both in August, 1894 ...

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